This series of guitar fretboard lessons will provide the necessary
groundwork for becoming an exceptional
guitarist - and that's not hype! Many guitarists neglect learning the
fretboard and seriously limit their potential as
a result. If you want to be able to improvise (play what you feel, in
the moment) on
guitar confidently, this section
is especially crucial.
But it's not difficult - you just need the right process, and
that's why I created these lessons.
This all goes hand in hand
with guitar theory and
should be your first step before moving on to learn how notes really
work together, in chords and scales. You won't regret spending time on
this stuff now, I assure you!
Why Learning the Guitar Fretboard Will Make You a Better
a map without any roads or locations to show you: a) where you
and b) how to get to your destination. Pretty useless, right? Well
that's how the fretboard is likely to appear at first!
In order to know exactly
where you're going, you need some points of reference - knowing how one
relates to another on each string.
Your first task is to understand the basic
function of the fretboard, starting with knowing what
when they say the "8th fret" (for example), numbering your frets and
understanding the significance of the 12th fret (i.e. why does the 12th
fret have a different inlay marker?).
Each fret/string represents a note from the "musical alphabet" (A
through G). We need to know where
these notes are on guitar so we always have a reference
will ensure you can instantly locate any note no matter where you are
neck. You'll see notes referenced in music all the time, so this
is crucial stuff, but should only take a week or so to memorize.
While learning the notes on each fret/string is important, you'll need
to break up that large block of notes so you can
compartmentalize the fretboard more efficiently. Your next step,
therefore, is to explore the visual relationship
between notes across multiple strings. This is your first
step in seeing patterns
(or "shapes") immerge from the fretboard.
Already, through these three lessons, you'll have the key reference
points you need to move from fret to fret without guesswork or undue
hesitation. You'll see just how valuable and integral to your playing
this skill becomes the more you progress.
a Deeper Understanding of the Fretboard
Let's be honest, learning any kind of
can get a bit... dull.
The solution? Interactive software that
makes learning the fretboard more engaging and fun.
The best tool for this is Guitar
Notes Master, which has inspired many
lessons on this very site...
THE Secret to Truly Dominating the Fretboard
Many guitar players learn the fretboard notes, which is important, but
few take that next
crucial step before moving on to scales and chord construction - the
ability to relate one
to another through how they sound and how they appear on
It's the step that connects chords and scales - a concept I like to
call the "big picture" and one that builds you a solid grounding
for developing your improvisation skills - the ability to jam freely
I'm talking about intervals
- the very building
blocks of music and the variable distances between
two notes. It never ceases to amaze me how many serious players delay
or neglect this stage. Nail it early on and you'll find all
aspects of music theory so much easier to digest.
Starting with the basic fret
intervals, you'll know where to move a "half step" or "whole
step" up or down from the note you're on. You'll also understand
exactly what it means when you see a scale written in the following
format: W W H W W W H. These are all terms and symbols you'll come
across during your musical journey. Don't be left in the dark!
The next step is to combine these small intervals into larger
intervals that you'll see (and hear) referenced in both
chords and scales. This is the connection that so many overlook. A
major 3rd in a chord
connects to a major 3rd in a scale!
When soloing over chords and writing songs that flow naturally, you'll
benefit hugely from knowing this stuff.
Once you know what they are, it's time to map
intervals out on the fretboard so you can visualise
them from any position on the fretboard. Again, a massive head start if
you're interested in improvisation and being able to play confidently
with no second guessing where to put your fingers to get the sound you
And finally, some powerful interval
practice ideas to help you internalize this knowledge and
prepare you for your journey into the wonderful world of music theory -
a world that will open up your creativity, guide you
through harmony and keep you from wandering unintentionally into